Oct 302012

When I re-reviewed the Lelo Luna beads, I asked lots of questions of Lelo. I was told that one could boil them for no more than 5 minutes to help remove any lingering stains and/or better clean the nylon pull string. Seemed reasonable, but I didn’t yet try it.

Recently, a reader wrote and told me that she did this and her beads melted a bit, became deformed. I confirmed that she followed the “no more than 5 minutes” and promptly put her in touch with my Lelo rep so that her beads could be replaced. Lelo told me then to update and say that one should place a washcloth or something in the bottom of the pot to prevent the beads from banging around in metal. So I changed it, and then I heard from a few more readers who were STILL having problems with melting. This advice has since been updated and now is:

Pour boiling water over the Luna Beads whilst they are in a bowl and let them soak for up to 5 minutes. This will prevent the beads from coming into contact with the very hot bottom of the pot, which is what could deform the beads……not the water.

If you’ve previously dropped them in a pot of boiling water and had any damage, please do let Lelo know or let me know. I’m sure they will replace your damaged beads for you. I really do wish that these instructions would have been tested and further clarified before I made them public, but hopefully this info will reach enough people.

UPDATE: AGAIN:  I received an email from someone and I have contacted my latest rep at Lelo for clarification – see below the reader’s email for Lelo’s response. Frankly, I’m pissed. They gave me false information once before and now this? I don’t know what to believe anymore. My best advice NOW, if you’re dealing with a discolored string, is to clean it in a very mild bleach solution. Let it soak only a few minutes and then rinse, and let it soak and rinse twice more in clean water. If the plastic discolors, contact Lelo. You have a warranty on these, use it. According to the latest from LELO, boiling water should still be fine. Since this person purchased the Minis when they had the uncoated metal ball, I’m thinking that that run of Minis was defective altogether. I don’t think that the uncoated metal ball was intentional, but who knows.

Hello Lilly,

I own the Luna Beads Mini and the string became discoloured after a few weeks of washing with just soap and water, so I did a Google search for “how to sanitize luna beads” and yours was the first site that came up.

I followed your advice from the LELO rep (I put the beads in a bowl, added water from a kettle and let them sit for less than 5 minutes). Unfortunately, one of the beads must have had a weak seam because this treatment allowed water to enter the bead. I have the old version of the Minis with the bare metal ball and now the ball is rusting due to the trapped moisture.

I contacted LELO and they are sending me a replacement, but after my experience I will not expose the replacement beads to boiling water. The manual says to NEVER expose the Luna Beads to extreme heat, and the customer service rep who handled my claim warned me that boiling the Luna Beads voids the warranty.

Either there is some inconsistency among LELO reps or they have updated their cleaning advice again.

LELO updated me:

Boiling LUNA Beads in the way I explained before is a fine method for cleaning. We do apologize if our Customer Care representative passed on the information that it automatically voided the warranty for LUNA Beads to your reader, but as I understand we did continue to honor the warranty in this case.

As to what it says in the user manual about “extreme heat,” we are trying to make sure customers do not expose their LELO products to unnecessary heat such as intense, direct sunlight over sustained periods of time, or trying to sterilize in a flame directly/ boil them incorrectly etc…


I’ve been contacted a few more times by people who have damaged their Luna Beads following the instructions I posted.  Many times, they were ignored by LELO customer service. They never had a response. Or they were told that they did something that broke the warranty. I was able to get them help by contacting LELO on social media.

Aug 272012

Update March 2014: I have added a few notes about my experience with this vibrator. My experience might factor in to your decision to buy one, despite how awesome I think the vibrations are.  Please see my note at the end of the review.

This year, Lelo decided to tackle the vibrator they’ve left untouched thus far: The “wand” vibrator or “body massager”. Up until now, the only wand massager that looked half decent was the Vibratex Mystic Wands. Everything else, such as the Hitachi Magic Wand, the Acuvibe, or even the Fairy Massagers, looked cumbersome, cheap, clinical or just plain ugly. But the Lelo Smart Wands are pretty, I’ll give them that. Actually the first word that pops into my head is “posh”.

Lelo Smart Wand Large in Ivory   Lelo Smart Wand Medium in Black

Of course, posh looks come with a posh price tag. Currently the non-sale price at SheVibe.com is $129 for the Medium Smart Wand and $169 for the Large Smart Wand. That is a lot of money to spend for most people and if they’re going to spend it, it had better be worth it.

What do you get for the price? Looks and the Lelo name, primarily. Plus a fairly intelligent design. Many wand vibrators have a long, straight handle. This isn’t ideal for using them as a back & body massager OR a vibrator. The handle of the Smart Wand is gently curved. And other than the metallic-painted plastic portion, the rest of the Smart Wand is covered in Lelo’s signature silicone skin. This is where they used their brains in design: There are no ridges on the head like the Acuvibe, Fairy Wand or Mystic Wands. There is no horrible texture like the Hitachi Magic Wand. And the neck is also completely covered by this smooth, silicone skin. It makes it really easy to clean. The Smart Wands are also pretty quiet for a wand massager. There is no high-pitched heard-through-walls whine of the Hitachi Magic Wand, and unlike the Mystic Wand Rechargeable, the buttons are silent when pressed.

Acuvibe, Lelo Smart Wand Large, Smart Wand Medium, Mystic Wand Lelo Smart Wand Large vs Hitachi Magic Wand Mystic Wand vs Lelo Smart Wand Medium

Unlike many other wand vibrators, the Smart Wands are both waterproof. I’ve seen countless reviews talking about how they doubt the veracity of the waterproof claim simply because the charging port is large and uncovered. Why on earth would you doubt this?? Lelo is a major company, they would be stupid to tell you the vibrator is waterproof if it is not. If Lelo says it is, then it is, and you should feel free to take this thing into the shower if that’s what you enjoy.

The Large is quite large – about 14 ounces and 12″ long overall. The Medium is drastically smaller, measuring at 8″ in length and not quite 6 ounces in weight.

Lelo Smart Wands - Large vs Medium

Lelo’s New Sensetouch Technology

Like all Lelo sex toys, the Smart Wands are of course rechargeable but that isn’t what sets them apart. Lelo’s “Sensetouch Technology” is a unique feature. Unfortunately, it’s not a feature that I personally think has a value. The Sensetouch sensors allow the vibration strength to gradually build as soon as the head of the wand comes in contact with your body. Sounds pretty neat, right? Meh. The build-up is pretty quick. The wand sits there idling on low speed until it sense that you’re touching it to your skin at which point it’ll quickly speed up to high – unless you then alter the speed or even pattern. It won’t ramp up in speed if it comes into contact with say, your bedspread. When you lift the wand away from your body, the vibrations die back down to low speed. When I first heard about this technology I had assumed that the vibration speed would increase or decrease depending on how hard you pressed it to your skin. That isn’t the case. The Sensetouch feature is something that you’re going to have to really think about to determine if it’s a necessary feature for your lifestyle.

In addition to this weird SenseTouch feature, the Wands also have the standard Lelo settings – 8 pattern settings, including steady vibrations, and I think 6 power settings. And of course the always-present Lelo feature: Button Lock. I don’t know of any other rechargeable wand massagers that have that feature.

Smart Wands….Vibrators or Body Massagers?

Lelo's Smart Wands packaging - nothing here about sexual pleasure!

Lelo’s packaging firmly markets the Smart Wands as a body massager. The new white packaging also denotes that this is from their “Health” line rather than the black packaging of the “Pleasure” lines. As a body massager though, the Smart Wand Medium is pretty underwhelming. As an external vibrator it’s also somewhat underwhelming. It’s not buzzy, it’s not exactly weak but it’s no powerhouse. In fact the Smart Wand Medium is about equal in vibration intensity to the Lelo Mona. Medium is a lot smaller than the Large and would certainly be more “travel friendly”, but again as a body massager it really didn’t do anything for me. There’s a reason that some women flock to the drugstore electric body massagers – they are intensely powerful, meant to replace strong, powerful hands in a simulated deep-tissue massage. So people familiar with what a wand vibrator represents would assume then that Lelo is bringing the power. They’d be wrong……

….Until you get to the Smart Wand Large. In size, it’s pretty comparable to the Hitachi Magic Wand. In fact the head is so similarly sized that the Large Smart Wand can accommodate any attachment meant for the Hitachi. I’ll get to this gem in a few. Both the Smart Wand Medium and Smart Wand Large can be considered “rumbly” but the Smart Wand Land is very, very rumbly. Rumbly here translates to a very low RPM. In fact, it’s so low, and so quiet, that veteran sex toy owners might at first mistake this low, quiet sound with the sound of a dying vibrator. I did at first. Lelo won’t tell me what the RPMs are for the Smart Wand Large, but I would hazard a guess that it’s among the lowest in the industry. When properly equipped, the Large version gives the Wahl 2-speed on high quite the competition – it’s got the somewhat-jack-hammering quality without the “too much” quality of the Wahl1. It is not as powerful at the Wahl 2-speed on High, and not quite as rumbly (that would be nearly impossible to replicate) but it’s really pleasurable for those that absolutely hate surface-buzzy vibrators.

The downside to all this power in the Smart Wand Large is that the handle vibrates with an alarming intensity. The trick though is to hold this thing right in the middle of the handle, the thinnest part of it. For some reason the residual vibrations are the weakest there and won’t cause you much hand/arm problems with longer-use sessions. The handle of the Smart Wand Medium has some residual vibrations, but no more than your average vibrator. If you have to hold the Large by the very end of the handle though you will feel numbness and irritating vibrations after 5 minutes of use.

As a body massager, the Lelo Smart Wand Large is fairly decent. Meaning, I’ve had better but it does have it’s pros and cons. One good point is that unlike many other rechargeable wand vibrators, there is no discernible loss of power when you apply pressure to the vibrating head. I’ve also had this thing last me quite awhile on a single charge. At least 5 masturbation sessions.  The Smart Wand Medium as I’ve said is worthless as a body massager.

Lelo Smart Wand Large with the Vixen Gee Whiz attachmentAs a vibrator, again the Medium has no real benefits. But the Large? Oh it shines. Gloriously. With one caveat: You really must pair it with a Hitachi-attachment for the best results. I purchased (finally!) the Vixen brand Gee Whiz Hitachi Attachment. It fits the Large very well; it harnesses all the broad-range power of the large head into more concentrated power through the um…nose? dildo? What would you call that? Insertable portion? You would think that since this attachment is largely made for internal use that that’s where it would shine but it is equally, if not moreso, lovely when used as a clitoral massager via the insertable dildo portion. It also turns the Smart Wand Large into a very powerful g-spot massager – almost as breathtaking as the Vanity VR6. In fact, the Gee Whiz performs way better when used on the Smart Wand Large than the Hitachi, which is the massager it was made for! The Hitachi’s vibrations are more powerful but they have a much higher RPM than the Smart Wand, and the vibrations just don’t travel as well. The difference in power transference is huge comparing the two. If I had purchased this attachment years ago for my Hitachi, I would have been really underwhelmed. You could also try the Gee Whizzard attachment, I’m sure it would perform just as well. I don’t see how there is any difference in the g-spot curve between the two, but perhaps the Gee Whizzard’s shaft, with the bumps and ridges, is more solid? I don’t know. The bumps aren’t even on the g-spot side of the shaft. It is worth mentioning that if you love the SenseTouch feature, you’ll have to give that up when you pop an attachment on.

The head of the Medium is much smaller than most other wand vibrators, and will not work with any wand attachments that I know of. Not that it would be beneficial, since the Medium lacks the penetrative, rumbling vibrations necessary for vibrations to travel through the silicone of the attachment.

More reasons to get the Smart Wand Large

The Large version is the first Lelo item to deviate from the standard black satin drawstring pouch. Instead, you get a reversible Neoprene pouch – the main side is black with plum stitching accents and the secondary side will match the dark purple of the vibrators. The Medium wand just comes with a standard satin drawstring pouch. The Large also comes with a bottle of Lelo’s sex toy cleaner. One thing also to note if you get the Smart Wand Large: While the male charging portion might look just like all the other Lelo chargers that are interchangeable, this one is meant solely for the Large Smart Wand – and it says so right on the charger. Since the Large has considerably more power than anything Lelo makes, I guess this makes sense.

Lelo Smart Wand Large accessories - reversible neoprene storage bag, plus antibacterial Lelo cleansing toy spray Lelo Smart Wand Large accessories - reversible neoprene storage bag, plus antibacterial Lelo cleansing toy spray Lelo Smart Wand Large charger's warning label

I realize that this is a really pricey endeavor, especially if you take my advice (oh you won’t be disappointed) and get the Gee Whiz attachment, but I’d highly recommend the Lelo Smart Wand Large. Highly. Again, this high recommendation comes on the condition that you use the attachment. Just watch for sales. 

 UPDATE March 2014:  Despite how much I truly love the powerful, rumbling vibrations of the Smart Wand Large, I haven’t used it as much as should have. That is partly due to the fact that the regular Lelo chargers won’t work with it, and I would frequently misplace the charger. Plus, the SWL didn’t really hold a charge beyond a few weeks. I used it a lot in the first year I had it but I’ve had this since July 2012. Recently I charged it up and turned it on. What I experienced was that the highest level of intensity didn’t feel as high as it used to anymore. Then when I held it at various angles (sideways, upside down, etc) all the while holding it on the handle where I should, I heard and FELT the motor suddenly jump up to a higher intensity. But it didn’t stay there. It was frustrating.  I contacted Lelo customer care, but was told that because I was outside the 1 year warranty, the most I would get would be a 50% discount off of purchasing the Wand from their website. As much as I love the vibrations, I won’t be doing this. I’ve instructed a number of readers to purchase this, but have never heard back from them that they had problems. I hope theirs are fine. Another reviewer, Reenie, had bizarre motor issues that I didn’t experience. She had hers replaced, and it had the same motor issues. An Australian retailer tested all of theirs, and found this same weird issue. I’m very torn. The vibrations are unlike anything I’ve ever felt. For those who like and want a very powerful, deep rumbling vibrator, there is no comparison. I prefer the feel of these vibrations to the Hitachi. But if a $170 item is going to fail AFTER the 1 year warranty, making it so that one would have to fork over another $85 for a replacement, I have a hard time recommending it. It is a risk. You very well might be like my other readers and get a unit that continues to function normally.  The following is Lelo’s response to me after I declined to their warranty replacement:

We design the Smart Wand to get the maximum power in terms of motor size, but also keep the life of the motor to maximum. When the Smart Wand powers up and someone takes it to full power the motor will go into free load state, this seems to be going faster / more power. This is due to the design of the neck , the head actually is not attached to the body in a fixed position, it is actually sitting on a silicon pad (under the silicone cover). This silicone pad is in place to stop the vibrations going down the handle. So by holding the neck, you stop the freeload of the motor but you then increase the vibrations down in the handle. So we can balance the power of the Smart Wand, to keep most power to the head. When you actually touch the head it does seem the motor is slowing down, when in effect it is not. The motor is running in the CORRECT way / speed giving that thumping feeling that simulates a massage. So the unit is actually working properly. The product might appear faulty when it is infect not faulty. You can give it sometime and you will actually notice it is always the same.

  1. Clarification – it’s not too much for me personally usually, although once or twice it has been. However it will be too much for women who have a more sensitive clitoris than me. You can just use it on a lower power setting – the rumbly vibrations sing sweet love down the shaft of the Gee Whiz, but for some reason only on the lowest and the highest settings. The 2 medium speeds don’t transfer as much vibration
Jun 082012

Lelo Tiani 2: Design Edition

Lelo is a company that changes their sex toys based on consumer feedback. Many have been changed. The Ina‘s clitoral arm was made less pinchy. The Mia was made more powerful and rumbly. So this review is a comparison review of the original Tiani vs the Tiani 2. If you’ve never read my opinions on the original Tiani, you might want to jump over to that review. Likewise if you’ve never heard much about SenseMotion or the Tiani before, you should start with my original review. This review will not be detailing the minute details and basics of how it works, packaging, etc. That’s all been done.

As I said, based on feedback from customers and reviewers, Lelo made changes to their SenseMotion line. All items in the SenseMotion line and just about every aspect of them has been revised – from the remote to the vibrations. But the real question is – do these updates and revamps make the Tiani 2 worth purchasing? As told by Lelo, the changes made to the Tiani are:

  1. Enhanced Motor: Quieter, and 50% more power than the original line
  2. Intelligent Memory Chip: No interruption of vibration if the remote and vibrator lose connection
  3. 3X Greater Wireless Range: Signal travels up to 48 feet with less interferrance from other wireless devices
  4. Enjoy with or without a Remote: Power on the vibrator and cycle through 6 modes without the remote
  5. Two Wearable Attachment Options: Classic looks the same as before; Contoured has a fuller flare for g-spot stimulation and a concave arm design

Lelo Tiani 2’s Enhanced Motor

From what I can see, the Tiani 2 itself is not any quieter, but it didn’t really need to be. What is quieter is the remote. It’s a noticeable difference, and a good change. The 50% power increase is not only correct, it’s selling itself short. Frankly I’d say that the Tiani 2 is three times more powerful than my original Tiani. The original was so surface-buzzy and weak that I could barely even feel the so-called vibrations. The Tiani 2 is an improvement with more rumbly vibrations that are more powerful. They feel pretty identical to the updated Mia. However…..while the vibrations are improved in both intensity and type, it’s still not powerful enough to me. When you make a vibrator with variable speeds, it stands to reason that you should make the top speed a little more powerful than what half of the women would prefer – this will appeal to a greater audience. Those who require something extra are satisfied while those who are more sensitive can keep it on a lower setting.

The vibrations are, however, not at all irritatingly buzzy. They are substantial enough to be felt. I can imagine that this would provide a great public tease, but perhaps is not enough power for many women to orgasm with it alone. The vibrations are without a doubt much more pleasant and powerful than the overhyped Fixsation; it is also more powerful than the We-vibe 1 or 2. At the moment I’m going strictly from memory1 but I feel pretty safe in saying that the Tiani 2’s vibration intensity is just about equal to the We-Vibe 3.

Intelligent Memory Chip / 3X Greater Wireless Range

The very first run of SenseMotion remotes absolutely sucked. If you were in any position other than legs splayed wide, the remote would lose connection and the Tiani would quit vibrating. It wouldn’t transmit through flesh. Then I found out that Lelo had fixed the remotes but were not exactly making it public knowledge. If asked, they would replace your remote for free though. The new remote was indeed much better with transmission; I was able to put my pants on and be 2 rooms away with it still vibrating. With the new & improved SenseMotion, the range is much farther (up to 48 feet) and best of all – if you do lose signal, the vibrations won’t die out. I tried to test this but so far have been unable to lose signal! Basically though if you do lose signal, it will simply revert back to straight vibrations. When the signal can be picked up again it does this automatically; you don’t have to do anything. I gave up reviewing wireless remote control vibrators because inevitably the remotes lacked something; range, ability to tell the remote holder what is going on, etc. This new SenseMotion remote does answer all of those problems.

No Remote Required!

One thing that the original Tiani failed on in comparison to the We-Vibe 3 was that the We-Vibe 3‘s remote wasn’t necessary, it was simply an enhancement. While the remote is still necessary for SenseMotion type play, you can use it without the remote. This is especially handy when you just want to use it during sex and you don’t want a remote buzzing away on the headboard. It’s also handy for those times when you run out of AAA batteries. The little invisible button on the top of the clitoral arm is where you turn it on and then can change settings. The location of this button is an improvement over any of the We Vibes whose button was located on the very tip of the clitoral arm, making it difficult to access when in use.

The way the remote and SenseMotion works is identical to the original Tiani. If you need a refresher on this or somehow have never heard about the Lelo SensMotion line, I will direct you to my original review of the Lelo Tiani, rather than spend 4 paragraphs here re-telling the details of exactly how it works.

Tiani Now Has Two Wearable Attachments

A complaint of the original Tiani was that the internal arm didn’t provide any g-spot stimulation. Since the design of the Tiani is so similar to the We-Vibe, people expect a little more action from that internal arm other than to just hold it in place. With the Lelo Tiani 2 Design Edition2 they’ve given you a choice of two internal arms. The new design is supposed to provide g-spot stimulation. This is where I have to criticize. While many users of the We-Vibe thought that the internal arm was *too* bulky, I think that the internal arm of the Tiani is not enough. This new flared end is a little bit thicker, yes. But the design will not work for everybody. Your g-spot would have to line up exactly with this spot and mine does not.

They also have changed the silicone of the arm, ever so slightly. With my first Tiani I’d complained that the arm was a little too floppy and that it provided no pressure to the clitoral portion. The new Tiani 2 is even more pliable. The silicone is a little more squishy and the thinner portion at the middle of the c-shape is very flexible and pliable.

The upside though to including both internal arm designs is that it will appeal to a larger variety of women. The design differences are not huge but it’s enough that some women will drastically prefer one style over another.

What Else Has Changed?

Another complaint I had with the original Tiani was when you screwed the internal arm on, the threads wanted you to turn it a quarter-turn more for a more secure seal, but the design clearly did not agree with this. This has been fixed, mostly. The two halves are together a little better. While the threads still want to keep going, it’s not as much as the original. You wouldn’t think this a problem, but with the original I would get lube and fluids inside. I’d clean the outside, thinking that was good enough only to unscrew it another day for recharging to find it covered in gunk. Nice, eh? A little bit still gets in, but as you’ll see in the photos, it’s not nearly as bad.

As I said, the remote and SenseMotion functions are identical from the original (except that the vibrations of the remote are quieter). You still need that plastic key to get the remote back off. Many people had no issues getting the remote back off without the use of the included tool; these people proclaimed people like me to be whiners and complainers. Now, perhaps I lack finesse or strength in my hand. Perhaps you don’t. Perhaps I happen to have a remote that is more cantankerous than yours. But I have even more trouble than before getting the remote battery cover off. It will be really hard to see in the photos, but I already chipped off metallic paint (and a teeny sliver of plastic) trying to get mine open with the key. Your mileage may vary.

Changes I wish they’d made but didn’t: I hate that faux-metal band. It’s part of the design, I know, but I hate it. It’s hard to keep clean and the line between plastic and silicone can get gunked up. I wish that the remote were rechargeable. I wish the remote was smaller. These are minor gripes, and fixing them (along with the vibration intensity) would only serve to make the Lelo Tiani 2 practically faultless. As it is, it’s now a vibrator I will recommend for those seeking a wireless remote control vibrator.

So…What’s the Verdict?

If you’re reading this review in the years since I originally wrote it, you may notice that the original Tiani isn’t for sale anymore. There’s the Lelo Tiani 2 and Tiani 3 now, and I’d say that you should pick the Tiani 3.  I recognize, though, that this sex toy isn’t for everyone. For me it would only serve as a teasing toy out in public; it doesn’t enhance sex for me and it is not strong enough to bring on a clitoral orgasm. The We-Vibe 3 is about $20 cheaper, but that $20 is all in the remote. If you really enjoy patterns and pulsation functions, and if you don’t require the power of the Web-Vibe Salsa3 then I can actually recommend this. That’s really saying something, because I would not have recommended the original Tiani to anyone. Lelo has definitely worked out all the kinks in the SenseMotion remote; it’s actually fun now!


Thanks to Lelo for letting me review the new & improved Tiani 2, and proving that they do listen to us!

  1. As of this writing I’ve temporarily misplaced the We-Vibe 3. It’s here somewhere. Don’t worry, this happens all the time
  2. Design Edition moniker is to designate it from the original design, for which they won a Red Dot award
  3. Still my go-to vibe; I own 4 of them so I’m never without
Jun 022012

First, a little background on why me NOT hating the Picobong Moka is such a shocker

There are a lot of things I disliked about Picobong from the get go. The stupid name that reminds me of something childish; the beachy-fun website with their Hawaiian-like names; the toy designs that left a lot to be desired; and most of all their inability to call things what they are – they cutesy shit up with “C-spot” like we didn’t have enough of that with the oft-used “P-spot” – it’s not a fucking spot it’s a goddamn CLITORIS. The G-spot is the only genital bit allowed to be called a “spot”. Their first run included things like the Honi (a bullet intended for vaginal insertion, but the buttons were inside of you), the Tano (vibrating butt plug where again…the buttons are inside of you AND the seam scrapes your ass), and the Mahana (c-shape for dual stimulation, but rigid design makes it difficult to use).

Despite knowing I would hate it, I willingly reviewed the Honi. The packaging sucked and was ruined by the time it arrived on my doorstep; they included a very baffling 6-sided die with shapes of their sex toys instead of numbers making it nearly as useless as the faux-gold-plated Insignia brooch. I reviewed it because I kept seeing positive reviews on it and I KNEW that it had to be bullshit. I was right. It was buzzy and irritating and weak.

PicoBong Moka is Lelo Gigi’s College Cousin; The adult Skipper-to-their-Barbie, if you will

When I heard that Picobong had a new line coming out, I was unimpressed. Many of us were1. Yet when I saw that the Moka looked a hell of a lot like Gigi at nearly half the price, I just had to review it. HAD TO. I figured I’d be able to compare and contrast with the Gigi until a fruitless search for days finally revealed that I no longer have the Gigi; I swapped it out to someone ages ago. Oops. No worries though, my friend Laura who runs a great Milwaukee sex toy store called The Tool Shed was kind enough to do a quick comparison for me and even snapped a photo of the Moka and Gigi side by side.

Image courtesy of Laura Ann Stewart AKA ToolShedGirl on Twitter

I read over my very old review of the Gigi and recalled why I didn’t quite love it, despite the fact that many, many women love theirs. I had 3 issues with Gigi:

  1. It’s short. Too short for me. And that’s not because my g-spot is buried in the deep depths of my cavernous vagina, it is because I have big tits, a belly and short arms. The Pure Wand still remains my g-spot’s best friend in part due to the length and the extreme curve.
  2. The location of the buttons was exactly where I’d rest my thumb as I held it during use.
  3. The vibrations were decent and serviceable but not strong enough to matter to my g-spot.

The Picobong Moka fixes those first two complaints. According to Laura, the vibration strength and type is pretty much the same between Moka and Gigi. Moka is a little over an inch longer and the head and shaft are also just slightly bigger. Picobong’s bad habit of putting the buttons on the side of their toys proved useless for their little insertable jobs but on the Moka it’s kinda genius. There is no position in which I’d hold this and accidentally hit a button2.

PicoBong's Moka has the control buttons on the side

I know that a lot of sex toy users are reluctant to drop $100 or more on a vibrator. I would be, too. And while I think that the Moka is still a wee bit overpriced and I think it shouldn’t cost a penny over $50, it’s still a very good option for those on a bit of a budget. You’ll get the sorta-rumbly and moderately decent vibrations of the Gigi, the curved shaft and wide, flat head of the Gigi with a little much-needed length and improved button placement. Style-wise it’s more South Beach Party Girl than Southern Belle Sorority Girl (which Gigi so clearly is). And of course you’ll need batteries (2AAA) rather than the supposedly green aspect of a rechargeable sex toy but for many people those can also be positive aspects. So long as you always make sure you have a spare pack of batteries on hand (and really, what seasoned sex toy owner doesn’t?) then you’ll never be at the mercy of waiting on a recharge.

Oh, PicoBong. Is there really a ditzy California surf bum on your staff or do you make this shit up?

Like the Honi, the packaging is utter shit. The box is made of the most flimsy cardboard ever and you will not be able to use it for storage. There’s no bizarre dice included with the recent line of Picobong toys.

The Picobong Moka Box - This is where $30 is saved from the Lelo Gigi

No, instead they’ve changed up the cap so that it has a slightly ridged texture and at the tip of the cap is a hole….for…a lanyard?? WTF? Am I supposed to wear my 8 inch vibe around my neck like the even-more-perverted-and-white version of Flava Flav?

    Picobong Moka on a Lanyard. Cuz I'm fly like that.
Wait, no, I think there’s something else in this mangled box…. OH YES. It’s…..? Yet again, Picobong owners are forced to go to the site en mass to query “WTFISTHIS”. It’s a cute dangle! “Perfect for your phone, keychain, or whatever clever accessory option you come up with, our PicoBong dangles are a just-for-fun addition to your PicoBong experience.” IT’S SO FUN. I DON’T KNOW HOW I HAD FUN BEFORE THIS.

It's a FUN FUN rubber charm!! YAYYYY

Picobong toys are covered in a silicone skin just like Lelo toys are, except with Picobong there’s more silicone and less plastic3. Then again, the silicone skin is merely covering up a hard plastic vibrator. And really, it’s the same for all Lelo toys. There is no plushness, no give – the entire toy is hard and rigid. So why are we even bothering with the silicone skin? Please, enlighten me. And since these are vibrators, you can’t boil them anyways. The silky touch to the silicone skin feels like many matte-finish ABS plastic toys, anyways. Go ahead. Pet the handle of your Mystic Wand and then your Lelo/Picobong toy. See what I mean? And in the case of many Lelo toys, a lot of gunk can get caught in the demarcation line between the silicone skin and the plastic handle. So why bother with the silicone skin??

So, no – I don’t hate the PicoBong Moka. This halfhearted endorsement is, however, not to be confused with an endorsement of the rest of the PicoBong line. But if you’re looking for a quality g-spot vibrator like the Gigi without the luxury pricetag, I will fully recommend the Moka. Because like the Gigi, that wide, flat tip is also pretty great for external use as well. With vibrations identical to the Lelo Mona and Gigi, just as quiet as them too, and a lower price tag it’s really not a bad deal. You’ll get the standard Lelo warranty, as well: 1 year warranty, 10 year “quality guarantee”.


The PicoBong Moka is a silicone sex toy with plastic parts and is considered very safe on the material safety scale. As it is a vibrator, you should use only the wipe down method for cleaning.


  1. Unimpressed is putting it a bit lightly for the jaded skeptics of our bunch. Nay, we outright mocked the shit out of it
  2. In case you can’t figure it out, you hit the + button to turn it on and up, the – to turn it down and off, and the M to scroll through the ELEVEN different pulsation patterns. It’s ridiculous
  3. This actually leaves you with more insertable length than the Gigi, if that’s something you really need for your G-spot
May 122012

It’s a bit of a long story regarding how I came to be reviewing the Lelo Luna Beads for a second time, but basically I lost the bead holster of my original set of Luna Beads that I reviewed way back in 2008 and I just happened to put them on my Wishlist. I put them on the wishlist more as a personal reminder that I wanted to replace them but I ended up getting them to review, along with the updated version of the Lelo Mia. By now I’m sure you’ve read tons of reviews on the Luna Beads so I’m going to start out this review with a few facts and dispelling of myths; things you’ve probably not read much about.

1. The “retrieval leash” on the Luna Beads has come under fire by many reviewers who don’t understand the overall design. It kind of looks like a tampon string, sure. But it’s not exactly absorbent. It’s made of nylon and is a very hygienic material. More importantly, this material is compatible with the way the Luna Beads are made which leads me to point #2…..

2. Luna Beads are not held together with glue. They are sealed together with an ultra-sonic welding technology, and the nylon cord was one of the only materials compatible with this technique. This method of securing the two halves of the outer ABS plastic balls leads me to point #3….

3. You can boil the Luna Beads for easy cleaning and sanitizing. YES. You can BOIL the Luna Beads.The beads, the holder, everything. Toss it all in and have some Luna soup. **Please note that you should not boil the beads for longer than 5 minutes. You should not place them in a metal pot directly; either place a silicone colander inside the pot OR place the beads in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. If the beads touch the bottom of the pot, there is a chance they could deform, as the pot bottom is hotter than boiling water**

Luna Beads – Why the Nylon Cord?

I talked to Lelo and found out that they spent years working on the design of the Luna Beads and that they were delayed the most with the retrieval leash. They tried many things but finally settled on nylon. The combination of the material and the way Lelo Luna Beads are made means that it’s going to take a LOT of force to break these or have that nylon retrieval leash come apart from the bead. You’ll probably never need to use that kind of force to remove them from your vagina. Some people have almost vilified this retrieval cord in their reviews, saying that it ruins the material safety issues but really….who are you going to be sharing these with?? These are meant to be a Kegel/PC muscle exerciser (not a sex toy) and they were never intended to be used anally. I recently reviewed one of the only other sets of Kegel balls that come in a varied-size set similar to the Lune Bead system, the Bedroom Kandi Hold On To Me, and at first it seemed like they were trying to improve upon the Lelo design. With the HOTM beads, the retrieval leash is part of the bead holster (which means you need 2 holsters…1 for using a single bead and 1 for using the double bead set). AND it’s incredibly stretchy, turning it into a rubber-band weapon dangling from your vagina, just waiting for slippery fingers to let go so that it can snap your bits like the 4th grade bully who sat behind you. The Luna Beads nylon cord is not stretchy at all, and it is a loop design, making it easy to grasp and pull out.

The Lelo Luna Beads retrieval cord is embedded in the plastic, part of the ultra-sonic welding that keeps the two halves of the Luna Bead together. This means that the nylon cord won't break or pull out.

Body-Safe Materials

The Beads themselves are made from ABS plastic1, which is a body-safe material free of phthalates, latex or other bad softening agents.  ABS plastic is non-porous. The bead weights are color-coded (pink beads are 28 grams each, blue beads are 37 grams), rather than a stupid painted-on design which rubs off after the second use. The plastic beads have actually changed slightly since I first got mine in 2008. I had noticed that more recent product photos showed that the beads were a little more “fancy” looking than mine – mine were pink and blue, sure, but had a very slight yellowish cast to the color and the plastic was slightly frosted. The newer beads have a truer pink and blue hue (more noticeable to me with the pink) and the plastic is more clear. All in all it’s a slight design change but it makes the beads look a bit less clinical. They are not, however, as shiny and color-saturated as some of the product photos floating around retailer sites.

Lelo Luna Beads - Lelo has slightly changed their plastic used for the Luna Beads, resulting in a better color

The bead holster is easier to use than the Bedroom Kandi set; the silicone is matte finish with a slight texture and isn’t very stretchy at all – just stretchy and soft enough to slide the beads in. If lined up just so, the holster will completely cover the hatch-like markings where the bead halves are welded together. Of course for use purposes it’s not exactly necessary, especially for the bead without the retrieval leash. And yes, the holster IS silicone; it passed the silicone flame test. Babeland has listed that the girdle/bead holder is medical-grade silicone but the Lelo site says “FDA approved” and I’ve been told by them that all of their silicone is food-grade. Food-grade silicone isn’t any less body-safe than medical-grade for sex toy purposes.

Cleaning (and boiling) the Luna Beads

I’d never heard before that you could boil the Luna Beads for a better clean. I think I’d just assumed that they would fall apart. Well, they won’t, because glue is not used. And water will not get inside. With my first set of Luna Beads, I did not clean the retrieval leash very well and it ended up yellowing slightly. I talked to Lelo about this and was told that a simple wash with your favorite anti-bacterial toy cleaner followed by a quick 5-minute boil would ensure that there is no staining and every part of the design will be sanitized. Just remove the beads from the holster to ensure that everything gets cleaned.
ETA Oct 17 2012: A reader contact me to tell me that she boiled her Luna beads, and they became disfigured. Lelo is replacing them for her, and it was emphasized that you should not boil these for any longer than 5 minutes. I think that I was told before about a 5-minute boil but it was not emphasized that it should not be any longer than 5 minutes at max. I was also told this time that when boiling, do so in a large pot….where there is enough water so that the Luna Beads don’t touch the pot or each other.

Pleasure? Beads?

Lelo calls these “Pleasure Beads“. When I first experimented with sex toys and saw those cheap, metal “Ben Wa” balls in the sex toy catalog I wasn’t sure exactly how to use them but I’d heard they were for sex. I couldn’t imagine having sex with some balls stuffed in my vagina! Let me assure you that the Luna Beads are not meant for use during sex. They’re not even really meant to give you an orgasm. What they are meant to do though is strengthen the Kegel/PC muscles (without any effort on your part) and in turn that will give you stronger orgasms and more pleasurable PIV sex. It will also contribute to a healthier bladder and fewer accidents when you sneeze (if you’re young enough that you don’t know what I mean by that last statement, then STFU and I hate you).

Believe me, these work, and you don’t even have to do anything. I know because once, after being away from the Luna Beads for too long, I thought I’d just go ahead and step right on up to  2 blue balls at once. Not only did I skip ahead a few steps but I probably wore them for a few hours longer than I should have. The next day my PC muscles were sore – just like any other muscle would be if I exercised too much. I can never remember to do active Kegel exercises, so these things are great for me.

I’ve heard from some women that they can feel them moving easily, some cannot feel them, and some are bothered by the movement. It’s actually not so much the large Luna Bead moving around inside of you, but the smaller weighted bead rattling around and pinging off the sides of the plastic ball. Whenever the weighted bead taps your vaginal wall, your PC muscles automatically contract just a tiny bit. The muscle contraction is not something I’ve ever felt. But this is how they work those muscles without requiring you to clench and release yourself. Over the course of a few hours you’ll have achieved the same level of Kegel exercise as if you’d done 4 or 5 “sets” of active exercises throughout the day. These only work if you’re mobile, however, not if you’re sedentary. It’s best to insert them before you go for a walk, run errands, or anything slightly active. The more active you are, the more these weighted beads will rattle around inside the plastic shell and the more your muscles will be tapped.

A lot of women find that wearing the Luna Beads will increase vaginal secretion (during use) and the mere presence of something subtly moving can increase natural arousal. But, please, don’t call these a “sex toy”.

Some reviews I’ve read have claimed that these are “noisy”. Rest assured, there is no discernible noise whatsoever to anyone other than you. You are simply “hearing”/feeling an internal activity. To you it seems noticeable but it definitely is not to anyone else. The metal Ben Wa balls I once owned had a bizarre musical tinkling sound whenever they moved. Lelo Luna Beads have a rubber-coated weight which is virtually silent when they’re in your body.

And the Winner is…

I’ve owned and worn exactly once a set of Fun Factory Smart Balls which did absolutely nothing for me – I hated the size, the design, and the inability to change out the weights. As I already mentioned, the Bedroom Kandi Hold on to Me balls had visual appeal but lacked in common sense or material safety. Another set of sort-of progressive weighted kegel beads is the Je Joue Ami set; I’ve not tried them but Epiphora has and I agree with her assessment: Bizarre design and what is UP with this stretchy retrieval cord again??

  1. Babeland says that the beads are made from a blend of Polycarbonate and ABS plastic, but the Lelo site simply says ABS plastic
Apr 052012

The Bedroom Kandi line’s Hold On To Me is a kegel exerciser set that is similar in execution to the Lelo Luna Beads. There are a lot of differences between the two products but a lot of similarities, namely, the ability to gradually increase the weight of the beads as your muscles get stronger. Both products feature 4 ABS plastic spheres/balls/beads, the ability to use one or two at a time, and a silicone “holster” for when you want to use two at a time. Since I do a lot of comparisons in my reviews it’s only natural that I’ll be doing a lot of comparing in this one to the Lelo Luna Beads because it is a product that has been around for years and so many are familiar with them. The Hold On To Me spheres are a lot more femme-y and girly looking whereas the Luna Beads look more plain. This is a type of product though that, for me, design is a far distant second to function.


While the Luna Beads are only 2 different weights (the pink beads are 28 grams each and the blue beads are 37 grams each) the Hold On To Me set contains 1 bead each of 4 different weights. All beads look identical, but there is gold paint on the outside to differentiate between them, like dots on dice. The bead weights are: 25 grams, 30 grams, 35 grams, 40 grams. A big different between the HOTM and Luna beads is the size. Luna Beads are 36mm while HOTM beads are only 30mm. 6mm might not seem like a lot but it matters. Users of the Luna Bead system who found that the beads were a little too big for comfort might enjoy the smaller size of the Bedroom Kandi Hold On To Me set. The holster for the HOTM beads is also more diminutive and a lot more flexible – this can be a good thing or bad. I personally found that this floppiness made the 2-bead set harder to insert than the more sturdy Luna Beads. Also, for the Luna Beads the retrieval cord appears to simply be cotton string but it is a nylon coated string. It doesn’t absorb fluids or stain, and it is attached to the bead itself. For the HOTM set, the retrieval cord is part of the holster – and it is very stretchy. In fact, it stretches out to double the original length. This is bad. You do not want stretch on a removal cord. Why?

It’s like a rubberband. Literally. The sleekness of the material combined with the small size and stretch is a recipe for disaster when met with slippery fingers. And your fingers will be slippery because in most women the use of kegel beads increases their natural vaginal lubrication. I had an issue with this and it resulted in a rubberband-like painful snap to my labia. Yes, you’re all cringing and crossing your legs right now as well you should be. I’m not the only reviewer who had this problem, Sada K did as well.

Another problem with the design is this “dot” system for designating the weights. The paint is on the outside of the plastic spheres, not the inside. And it does indeed rub off. I used my double set twice and washed them 4 times. You can see below that the gold painted dots are completely gone and the BK logo has faded considerably. Where did this paint go? What is it made of?? I don’t know, and it concerns me. Sada had this same problem as well.

The spheres look quite a bit different in the online photos than in person. Online they appear to be mostly magenta but in reality it is a clear ABS plastic sphere with a magenta colored weight inside that rattles around. When reading about how the Lelo Luna Beads work, they specifically state that you don’t have to do anything, that it is basically a passive exerciser. As the weights “vibrate” (they don’t really, it just sorta feels that way) and rattle around inside the plastic outer ball, that whole motion is tapping your kegel muscles, making them contract slightly without intervention. I can confirm that is true because one time I just stepped right up to using both of the blue Luna Beads for a few hours (stupid) and the next day my kegel muscles were sore. Like “too many sit-ups” sore. Except, ya know, not my abs. Some people don’t like that obvious rattling feeling of the Luna Beads; those people would perhaps appreciate the Hold On To Me spheres better. The plastic sphere is smaller but the size of the weight appears to be the same so you don’t get that somewhat-pronounced rattle that the Luna Beads produce, the HOTM is more subtle. So subtle that for me it didn’t really do anything. I tried the 2 lighter weight beads at first and then the next day the 2 heavier ones and I never felt the “whoa too much” soreness.

However, the manual never claims that the spheres will work that way. The manual actually tells you to do active kegel exercises while wearing the beads. Which, to me, defeats the purpose. Other kegel exercisers that you are meant to work against are larger, more solid, somewhat like a dildo. You clench around it, and well….I don’t know how they work exactly, I’ll be honest. But I know that you don’t insert them up inside the vaginal canal completely, like you do with balls/beads/spheres. So judging from the manual, the whole thing seems very pointless. I did do kegel exercises while wearing these and couldn’t discern that they were helping me in that way. And it’s not like you have to walk around all clenched up lest they fall out.

Speaking of the manual and instruction, I ran across some very troubling information in the exercises section. OhMiBod/Bedroom Kandi was actually recommending that if you’re unsure how to clench the PC muscles, you repeatedly stop and re-start the flow of urine while on the toilet. Repeatedly. As an exercise, not as a “training” guide to familiarize yourself with how and where and what to clench. That is not healthy! I can remember hearing from Ducky Doolittle (whom I consider to be the kegel master, she knows more than the average doctor) that it is problematic because it can cause infection and it can also bring about “overactive” bladder, which is the opposite of what you want! I immediately emailed BK via OMB about this, and heard back from Brian, founder of OhMiBod. According to him there was only a small run produced and many of these went to reviewers and such so a change in the manual is possible; he said they would change that part, I hope they do.

Finally, my biggest problem with the HOTM product is the material. It is stated that the black holster is silicone. I questioned Brian on this after I performed a flame test (which failed spectacularly) and he has held fast to the statement that the material is silicone, food-grade. I questioned if it might be a blend and he claimed that he consulted the lab paperwork to find that it was not a blend. He also tried the flame test himself and says that he did not have the results that I did. I don’t have proof of this, but he came off as a fairly honest individual. However, I took the item in question with me to MomentumCon knowing that there would be retailers and manufacturers present. I showed my holster to them and no one hesitated to say that it didn’t appear to be pure silicone. You can see the destruction of material in the photos below, but a video and more in-depth post will be published very shortly is up explaining the flame test and showing various results.

UPDATE: As we go along, we learn more about the various types of silicone. We’ve learned that these results actually ARE in line with how certain silicones behave. I now do believe that the material is, in fact, pure silicone.

All in all, I’m not a fan of this product and I can’t recommend it. Silly name aside, the material safety issues and ineffectiveness of the weighted balls leaves me cold. The color scheme is pretty (to me, but then I love black and magenta). The box and packaging is nice and reminiscent (at first) to a cross between Njoy and Lelo. Except that it’s not. When you first open the container you see the spheres all nestled in a cloud of black satin. This is achieved by a cardboard riser with holes in it that are just barely big enough for the spheres to lay partially in but not fall through. They’re held in place firmly, though. Too firmly. In fact I had trouble pulling the ones in holsters out (that damn stretchy cord) so I had to remove the whole thing and push them out from underneath. After that the magic was lost and I tossed that part. However if you’re willing to forgive it, it would make for a decent travel case – albeit large – because they wouldn’t rattle. They do include though a satin drawstring pouch for travel.

I really think that the idea of gradually increasing the weights is ingenious and so I’ll continue to recommend the Lelo Luna beads instead.